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Lessons from Japanese Health Care


March 22, 2011 – The University of Utah’s Asia Center is sponsoring a public workshop on Japanese health policy from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 28 and 29, 2011 in the Fort Douglas Heritage Center, Room 1A-1B. This workshop is the first of a series of events that will be held over the next three years on health studies in Japan.

“To developing and developed countries alike, Japan provides a model of a relatively successful health care system and has always provided a harbinger of challenges to come, especially those posed by aging populations,” says Janet Theiss, director of the U’s Asia Center. “Undoubtedly, we are poised over the next three years to see how or if the health care system will be able to address the incredible problems that the Japanese people now face due to the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.”

Funded by a grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, the project aims to promote the idea of including the study of Japan into curriculum and research related to health policy in a variety of subjects like demography and economics. The health studies project will also incorporate health-related topics like aging, disability, inequality and access to health care into the U’s Asian studies courses.

In addition, a new tenure-track position in Japanese Health Policy will be filled with seed money from the grant.

The upcoming workshop will include three presentations by eminent scholars of Japanese health policy. Akito Ohmura, dean of the Teikyo University School of Medical Technology in Tokyo will lecture on what the U.S. and Japanese health care systems can gain from each other. John Campbell, professor emeritus in political science from the University of Michigan and visiting scholar at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Gerontology will speak about Japan’s universal long-term care insurance. Naoki Ikegami, professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at Keio School of Medicine in Tokyo, will discuss how Japan provides universal coverage at half the cost of the U.S. The presentations will be followed by open discussion.